All Eyes on me…
One of my biggest challenges since losing my hearing and as a result of my dislike at being the centre of attention has been exposing the external components of my Cochlear Implant (CI). I still struggle with walking down the street with the external parts of the implant showing in all its glory. So it seems fitting that my next post on here should be about this.
I’ve always been very self-conscious of its presence behind my ear…it is hard to forget its there when its exposed and it is as if this radar goes on in my head that is telling me everyone is staring at it! *cringe*
It’s not the best feeling in the world…for a long time, 12-years now, whatever hairstyle I chose to do was based on one question – can my ears be covered? Yeah, you can imagine that limited my choice of hairstyles. I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do cornrows; to sight me with a pony tail was a common as seeing a dinosaur in the 21st century. I blatantly refused to leave my own natural hair out for longer than 12-hours (the time it takes between taking out the previous style and doing a new style the next day!) and even when I did, I made sure it was relaxed and styled into a ‘classic bob’ so that it covered my right ear. This was before I was given the newer CI known as BTE (Behind-the-ear). My first CI was exactly like this (made by Advance Bionics):
The processor (the grey box) was clipped to my belt or somewhere else on my body convenient for me and the external headpiece trailed down my back from the site of the implant on my head to the processor. It was like wearing a pager and I used to pretend that was exactly what it was! You should have seen me – I’d be standing there fiddling with the controls, looking as if I just received a very important page! Haha! Jeez…I was crazy…*covers face*
What I liked about this model was that it was (somewhat) easy to hide. I say somewhat because if I clipped it to my skirt or trousers, it still stood out like a sore thumb. But my point is that, in terms of hairstyles, I could very easily pull my hair back because the processor was not sat behind my ear as it does now, like a hearing aid.
So why was I so self-conscious about showing this to the world? Why did I go to such extreme lengths to hide this from the world? Why was it so crucial to me that this was kept hidden at all times?!
Firstly, I didn’t like the stares. Secondly, I thought that if a potentially gorgeous brother happened to sight my CI, he’d instantly lose interest in me (if he was even interested in the first place!). I was convinced this was a huge ‘turn-off’ for guys and I didn’t want to spoil my chances of getting a date by displaying this CI! Sounds pretty silly, I know, and I can hear all my friends (the guys especially!) protesting! LOL…Well, as silly as it sounds, I couldn’t convince myself otherwise. So for 12-years, it was kept under wraps where possible, or simply not worn at all.
So what has changed? Through Christ, I have laid aside these feelings of self-consciousness, anxiety and fear. Remnants are still there, but I’m chipping away at them everyday by God’s grace. He has given me the confidence I need to overcome these fears and to walk boldly and show the world “yes! I have a CI and its just the way I hear!” Now, I hope to educate the masses about the miracles that God makes limitlessly available to those who believe and that these miracles come in many forms. In my case, and in the case of millions of others, it came through science and technology.
The fear and anxieties that got hold of me all these years were not from God: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). This was exactly what was missing! I needed power, love and a sound mind to allow me to throw off my poor self-image and fear, step forward with new confidence, and let God do whatever He chose to do with my life and this CI. But I know my limitations and I know this could only be done by handing the reins of my life over to the Holy Spirit.
It was also helpful when I realised I was wrong in not accepting myself with a hearing loss and with a CI. Having a CI did not and does not change who I am – fearfully and wonderfully made! “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works (me!), and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14).
I had to confess my fears and anxieties as sin, “for whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23), and then I asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Over the past two months, I have been trusting the Holy Spirit ahead to do the impossible for me and cause me to walk boldly and talk confidently about my CI and my experience. I appreciate more the position I am in and what an honor it is to be found usable by God!
The only outward sign or expression of this change was my CI being seen clearly, sitting comfortably behind my ear. Inside, I had a beautiful and quiet peace settling in my heart. God has begun to work in me that which will be far more effective than anything I could do myself. I want to do the impossible for God! It hasn’t all happened overnight but I continue to draw daily on that power, love, and sound mind knowing that He is working in me.
The missing dimension has been found. I am still me, but God is going to work on my weaknesses. Together, through this blog and in our encounters, we are going to see a transformed Doose begin to emerge!
My testimony is that I have come this far by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. Oh boy, I still have a long way to go, but God is faithfully working in me to prepare me for that day I will meet Him face-to-face.
It is my desire that this blog will do the same for you as I continue to share my experiences by God’s grace. Please watch this YouTube video (turn on the CC button to get the captioning on the main YouTube page by clicking on the YouTube icon first) – it’s beautiful and it says it all!
Life is good!
Chronicles of a Bionic Woman
“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” –John Maxwell